Best Dishwasher: Top 5 Dishwashers of 2021

Best Dishwasher: Top 5 Dishwashers of 2021

Finding the best dishwasher for your home can be overwhelming. There are hundreds of options, and the pressure is on to make a choice, especially if your current one broke down and dishes are piling up in the sink.

Maybe you’re looking for the most reliable dishwasher. After all, if you’ve already had one give up and stop working, you probably don’t want to repeat that experience again anytime soon.

Or perhaps your open floor plan home calls for a quiet dishwasher. If so, how quiet is quiet enough? Do you really need that $2,000 super-quiet 39 decibel dishwasher, or is something less expensive sufficient?

The truth is, we’ve all got different priorities, and there’s no one size fits all dishwasher that’s best for everyone. To make matters worse, 2021 has brought its own challenges, and just finding a dishwasher in stock can be nearly impossible.

As the appliance experts, we’ve scoured dozens of brands and hundreds of models to pick the best dishwashers for most people.

Let’s dive right in with our selections.

Best Dishwasher Picks for 2021

You’ve probably bought only one or two dishwashers in your life. How are you supposed to tell which is the best value? Or know if it’s worth spending a couple hundred more dollars for an appliance that has Wi-Fi connectivity, a third rack, an automatic detergent dispenser (yes, that’s a thing now, thanks to Miele dishwashers), or a special cycle that promises to get every load bone dry?

That’s why we keep a close eye on the market and constantly update this ranking with the latest and greatest models. We want to make it easy to pick out the right dishwasher for your home.

Manufacturers come out with better quality machines that have new features every single year. Some are gimmicks; others are true conveniences. Believe us, we’ve seen them all, and heard what matters to the real people who come into our stores every day. This guide will help you sort through the chaos.

Read on, and we’ll also teach you how to choose a smart dishwasher based on its performance, noise level (based on decibels, or dB), and price. Whether you’re looking for a Bosch dishwasher or one from a legacy American brand, like Whirlpool, KitchenAid, or GE, we’ve got you covered.

The past few months have been tough for the appliances market. Few manufacturers have enough products available. Check out our best dishwashers video review, where we give you the rundown of our favorite models that are in stock!

Watch our exclusive video review of the best dishwashers in 2021 that are available today.

Types of Dishwashers

Think there’s only one type of dishwasher on the market? Think again. Although standard, built-in dishwashers are by far the most common, you also have a few other options when it comes to choosing the right one for your home. Alternatives include dishwasher drawers and portable dishwashers.

Built-In Dishwashers

When you think of a dishwasher, you probably picture a standard, built-in model. These dishwashers are placed under your countertop and offer the perfect combination of convenience and style. These days, stainless steel dishwashers tend to be the best-sellers on the market. It is also common to see seamless, panel ready dishwashers in modern settings.

Although most standard models are 24 inches wide, some manufacturers also offer a small dishwasher that is 18 inches wide to fit in tiny kitchens or bar areas.

If you have a nonstandard counter height, you’ll want to go for a slightly shorter ADA dishwasher. These models are typically about an inch shorter than their standard-size cousins.

built in dishwasher
Built-in dishwashers fit under your kitchen counter.

Drawer Dishwasher

Never heard of a drawer dishwasher? That’s because they’re a lot harder to come by than built-in dishwashers. Only one manufacturer, Fisher Paykel, currently makes dishwasher drawers. These small, discreet appliances slide out from under your countertop and come in both single and double-drawer options.

dishwasher drawer
Single or double dishwasher drawers from Fisher Paykel 

Portable Dishwashers

Although they’re pretty uncommon, portable dishwashers are perfect for small apartments or RVs. These units can easily be moved around and don’t require separate plumbing to operate; they typically hook up to the existing faucet in your kitchen.

Some models can be placed on your countertop, while others can be wheeled around for convenience. Like standard dishwashers, portable models come in both 18- and 24-inch variations.

portable dishwasher types
Portable dishwasher types
Watch our exclusive video review of best dishwashers in 2021

Best Dishwashers of 2021

Now that you have a better understanding of the different types available, let’s dive into our picks for the five best dishwashers of 2021. After serving hundreds of thousands of customers, we found out that most people appreciate an affordable and reliable dishwasher more than one with many bells and whistles, like Wi-Fi connectivity. All of the models we reviewed below fit these criteria.

1) Best Dishwasher Overall: Bosch SHPM65Z55N 500 Series

Quietness: 44 dB | Interior: Stainless Steel | 3rd Rack: Yes | Place Settings: 16 | Price: $999

This model is beautifully designed, but beauty isn’t all it has to offer. Our top-ranked Bosch dishwasher gives you astounding features and some of the best reliability around, especially in its price range.

The Bosch 500 Series SHPM65Z55N now comes with the AutoAir Dry door, which automatically opens slightly to let extra moisture out after the cycle is over and help dry your dishes more thoroughly.

Bosch SHPM65Z55N Dishwasher

From the stainless-steel tub to the 44 dB noise level, this dishwasher is made to blend into your kitchen. In fact, this dishwasher is so quiet that Bosch beams a discreet red light (aka infolight) onto the floor to tell you that it’s working.

Meanwhile, excellent features like EasyGlide racks and FlexSpace tines mean that you can truly customize this machine to make it your own. The three racks give you plenty of space.

When it comes to washing power, five wash cycles and unique options give you lots of flexibility. You’ll also find Sensor Wash and Speed60 cycles, plus the famous pocket handle that will look absolutely stunning in your kitchen.

The Bosch 500 series dishwashers also can come with different body styles with a towel bar handle design and different color options (white, black, black stainless steel). This one’s sibling product, the Bosch SHP865ZD5N 500 DLX series, is sold in independent appliance stores at the same price. It has the advantage of an extra cycle designed to really scrub pots and pans.

Think you might be interested in a Bosch dishwasher? Check out our in-depth video, where we review and compare Bosch’s offerings!

Watch our exclusive video review of Bosch dishwashers

2) Best Dishwasher on a Budget (Plastic Interior): Whirlpool WDT710PAHZ

Whirlpool WDT710PAHZ

Quietness: 51 dB | Interior: Plastic | 3rd Rack: No | Place Settings: 13 | Price: $699

A Whirlpool dishwasher is often said to have the ultimate combination of quality and affordability, and this model, the WDT710PAHZ, is popular for a reason. It offers many great features with a price tag that dips to around $500 during seasonal promotions.

Whirlpool Dishwasher WDT710PAHZ

Whirlpool’s cleaning and drying performance receive some of the highest marks among consumers. Meanwhile, Whirlpool keeps its price low with design features including a plastic tub (stainless steel is a more desirable material, because it’s quieter and not susceptible to stains over time from brightly pigmented foods, like marinara sauce) and a 51 dB noise level that’s not ultra quiet but is acceptable in most homes.

Meanwhile, you’ll enjoy five wash cycles and five options to cover every type of soiling. There’s a high temperature wash to get baby bottles ultra clean, and sensor and one-hour cycles to help you get the exact type of wash you need.

You’ll also get a height-adjustable upper rack for increased flexibility and a combined dry system that uses both a heating element and a fan to help ensure no glasses come out with puddles on top.

We also like Whirlpool’s unique AnyWare basket for utensils, which is included on this model. It can go in two spots on the bottom rack or in the door, to allow more space for pots, pans, and plates. It’s the only cutlery basket like it on the market.

This dishwasher’s hidden controls give it a sleek, expensive look, and Whirlpool consistently rates highly for great reliability and low maintenance costs. Spare parts and service are generally very easy to locate.

Watch our exclusive video Whirlpool dishwasher pros and cons.

3) Best Dishwasher on a Budget (Stainless Interior): Bosch SHEM63W55N 300 Series

Bosch SHEM63W55N

Quietness: 44 dB | Interior: Stainless Steel | 3rd Rack: Yes | Place Settings: 16 | Pricing: $899

Bosch dishwashers are famous for their high-quality design. This particular model is very quiet at 44 dB, with five wash cycles, and a full stainless steel interior. The product line comes from a lineage of the quietest dishwashers on the market. The Bosch 300 series is incredibly popular, filled with great features and an affordable price tag. The SHEM63W55N is one of the best options available.

Bosch SHEM63W55N

Features include a stainless steel tub for effective drying and better soundproofing, plus a higher durability rating. The 44dB noise level won’t disturb you at all, while the five wash cycles and four options are powerful enough for all types of soiling.

The Auto Wash option is sure to be a favorite, offering a soil sensor and Speed60 One-Hour wash cycle to give you exactly the level of cleaning you need in a shorter period of time.

The third rack gives you lots of flexibility in loading and space allocation, and you’ll also find a RackMatic feature that allows you to adjust the height of the middle rack. This is an unprecedented level of flexibility in a midrange dishwasher, making this product from Bosch a must-have in the under-$750 category.

4) Best High-End Dishwasher: Bosch SHPM88Z75N 800 Series

Quietness: 40 dB | Interior: Stainless Steel | 3rd Rack: Yes | Place Settings: 16 | Pricing: $1,399

Bosch’s 800 line is the brand’s most famous, and it’s no surprise why. The 800 line has great Bosch features with an elegant design, and the SHPM88Z75N is worth every penny. It now comes with Crystal Dry, which gets challenging items like plastic containers bone dry without melting them.

Bosch SHPM88Z75N Dishwasher

This series boasts the sleek pocket handle design and modern touch control panel, adding a streamlined aesthetic to your kitchen. The stainless steel tub offers more durability, easier cleanup, and quieter performance than models with plastic tubs. The 40 dB noise level benefit is one of the best in the market. In fact, very few can beat noise levels with 38 dB. Homes where the kitchen blends with the main living space would really benefit from a dishwasher this quiet.

Another key feature of this unit is the V-shaped third rack, called the MyWay Rack. This special third rack offers loading flexibility. The V-shape handles ramekins, cereal bowls, measuring cups, ladles, and more, while giving you additional space for taller products on the sides of the middle rack.

The six wash cycles and six options offer versatility for different dishwashing needs. For example, the Sensor Wash + Speed60 is a one hour wash cycle that can automatically sense and determine which cycle is needed. This feature is ideal for families on the go who need clean dishes fast.


5) Most Reliable Dishwasher: Miele G7106SCUSS

Miele G7106SCUSS

Quietness: 43 dB | Interior: Stainless Steel | 3rd Rack: Yes | Place Settings: 16 | Auto Open Door Dry: Yes | Pricing: $1,499

Miele dishwashers consistently define and redefine perfect functionality. The company manufactures every piece of their dishwashers in house and promises a 20-year lifespan, which is the longest on the market. These are some of the many reasons why Miele dishwashers are a staff favorite here at Designer Appliances.

It’s also why we highly recommend the Miele G7106SCUSS. This model is from the most recent G7000 series and replaces our previous favorite, the Miele Crystal series G6625SCUCLST. It boasts the best drying ability on the market, plus a whole lot more.

Miele’s latest G7000 series dishwashers have the most innovative feature we’ve seen lately on a dishwasher: Miele AutoDos. Rather than adding detergent every time you run a load, this convenient cartridge holds enough cleaning power for some 20 loads.

Miele also updated the racks for further convenience. And the manufacturer took the opportunity to drop the price of this dishwasher by $500. Not bad.

This model comes with either front-facing controls or hidden controls with a towel bar handle. If you prefer a seamless finish with your kitchen cabinets, Miele makes the G7156SCVi version with a panel-ready front.

Miele G7316SCUSS

The first thing you’ll notice about this Miele dishwasher is that you can’t smudge the door. Fingerprint-resistant stainless steel is used everywhere—from the sleek exterior to the sturdy interior tub. While the noise level of 43 dB isn’t the best in its class, it’s still impressively quiet. You probably won’t even notice when it’s operating.

When you wash your dishes with a Miele dishwasher, you can expect to get spotless results every time. This is due to its superior water softener technology, which helps eliminate calcium deposits. That means no annoying watermarks on your glassware.

Miele uses professional, commercial-grade pumps to guarantee excellent results, every cycle. You can even trust the Miele G7106SCUSS with your fine china and crystal wine glasses, thanks to its gentle but powerful wash power and stemware holders.

Think a Miele dishwasher might be for you? Check out our in-depth video, where we review all the best features of the new G7000 dishwashers.

Watch our exclusive video review of Miele dishwashers

The G7106 also has best-in-class drying performance, which comes courtesy of a condensation drying system. This ensures perfect drying every time. You’ll also benefit from features like SensorDry, the AutoOpen door system, and the quick and auto wash options for flexible and convenient cycles.

This model also features a newly designed third rack for utensils, which makes your dishwasher interior fully flexible and customizable.

The Miele G7106SCU is a great place to start your research if you’re in the market for a Miele dishwasher. By comparison, Miele offers the G4228SCU dishwasher without the water softener, which will save you a significant amount of money.

The company also offers quieter 38dB models with interior lights, even more flexible racking, and program cycles for people who are in pursuit of the best dishwasher on the market.

How much should you pay for a new dishwasher?
We prepared a guide to help you budget!

How Much Does a Dishwasher Cost?

Must-Know Factors When Buying a Dishwasher

As when shopping for any product, there are certain factors everyone should consider when buying a dishwasher. First up, let’s talk about performance.

Washing and Drying Performance

You guessed it. A dishwasher must wash effectively, and dry your dishes so they can be put away. Let’s face it, a fancy dishwasher with all the latest tech innovations doesn’t mean much if it doesn’t clean dishes.

When it comes to washing, it’s vital to have enough wash cycles and options to cover all kinds of soiling types and levels. A quick wash cycle is an excellent advantage, particularly since the most energy-efficient cycles these days can last as long as two hours. Sensor wash is also a major plus, since it automatically adjusts how long a load takes based on soil levels and the number of dishes. You’ll also want to select a dishwasher with quality nozzles and spray arms to ensure quality care.

Meanwhile, drying effectiveness is just as vital. Nothing is more annoying than having to hand dry all of your dishes. There are two main drying techniques dishwashers employ. The first uses a heating element to heat up and evaporate moisture on the dishes. This method comes with two major downsides: melted plastics and baked on food residue (which happens when the machine doesn’t get it off the first time through). The second, and most effective, drying method is condensation drying. This method cools down the stainless steel walls surrounding the dishes to pull moisture away from them and onto the walls. European manufacturers like Bosch and Miele have perfected this technique.

Other helpful drying features include auto-opening doors (used by Miele for the past several years) at the end of each cycle and integrated fans that help reduce moisture after the cycle.

Bosch recently released two product lines that incorporate the following:

  1. AutoAir, which opens the door of the dishwasher when the cycle ends to enhance drying.
  2. CrystalDry, which introduces a final, gentle heat cycle to remove all remaining moisture from the tub.

Quietness

As we mentioned, modern dishwashers have longer wash cycles. This is mainly because Energy Star system standards require less clean water and energy to run. With all these extra washing hours, you don’t want to experience intrusive machine noise during dinner. Consequently, the noise level is a vital consideration for your comfort.

Today, the noise levels of dishwashers range between 38 dB to slightly above 60 dB. Keep in mind, anything below 50 dB is good, and below 45 dB is super. By the way, dB is shorthand for decibels, a unit of measurement that applies to sound level. For example, a whisper is around 30 dB, a library is 40 dB, light traffic noise is 50 db, and a regular conversation tops out at about 60 dB.

For more information, check out our in-depth guide to the quietest dishwashers, including our real-life audible sound test results.

Quietest dishwashers with audible sound test

Design

First and foremost, the interior design of the dishwasher and its flexibility are extremely important. Features like a third rack makes washing more convenient and effective. A third rack gives you more options to wash your valuable silverware and opens up space for more plates and bowls in the lower rack. Moveable tines, baby bottle guides, silicon fasteners for wine glasses, and height adjustable racks will provide you meaningful convenience every time you load and unload.

Dishwasher 3rd Rack
Dishwasher 3rd rack options

Foldable tines, adjustable height racks with smooth movement, and well-placed silverware jets are all useful features that make washing and putting away silverware much easier. Don’t forget: A stainless-steel tub, with a longer life and better soundproofing, is a much better choice than a plastic tub that’s susceptible to stains.

Finally, you want to have a beautiful machine on the exterior, too. Manufacturers are now producing a wide range of visual designs and finishes, from classic and black stainless steel to fingerprint-resistant doors and everything in between.

adjustable racks
Adjustable racks and tines open up space for dishes, pots, and pans from all sizes

Reliability

A beautiful and powerful dishwasher is pretty much pointless if it’s going to break down a few months after it arrives. That’s why reliability is so important.

However, you need to consider that not all brands have a flawless track record, even from one model to the next.

Some of the most dependable brands include Miele, Bosch, and Whirlpool. You can almost always count on these manufacturers to provide a product that will last in your kitchen for many years to come.

To help any make or model last longer, it’s important to maintain it properly. Vital parts, including the dishwasher filter, the detergent or detergent pods dispenser, the rinse aid dispenser, and the spray arms, can get clogged with grease, food particles, and hard water deposits to the point where they won’t work as well and may not fully clean your dishes. You need to clean them periodically. A fully functioning clean dishwasher requires a little TLC from you.

In addition to maintaining these dishwasher parts, you should also switch on the self-clean cycle, if your dishwasher has one, every 10 days or so. Otherwise, you can run an empty normal cycle with distilled white vinegar, then an empty hot load with baking soda (and a little lemon juice, if you like) sprinkled in the bottom of the tub.


Dishwashers in the News

This section is regularly updated by our staff to include the latest industry news surrounding dishwashers.

  • You may’ve heard that kitchen appliance prices shot up during the pandemic due to the inflation that’s affecting many consumer goods. According to the latest figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the price of major appliances, including dishwashers, increased by a little more than 12 percent from July 2020 to July 2021. For example, the Bosch 500 series dishwasher—our best overall pick—cost $894 in 2020. But there was a $50 rebate. There were also package rebates; if you bought this dishwasher along with a range and refrigerator, you scooped up additional savings. For practical purposes, it used to cost $844. Now it costs $999, a 12 percent increase.

  • We have good news if you are growing impatient with your dishwasher cycle lasting two hours. According to the Department of Energy (DOE), the recent crop of energy and water efficient dishwashers have altered the cleaning regiments of most households. The introduction of these dishwashers has forced many people to prewash their dishes by hand and use more than one express cycle to get their dirty dishes clean. As a result, the energy and water use efficiencies gained by modern dishwashers were erased by changes in consumer behavior. Therefore, the DOE is asking manufacturers to come up with a “normal” cycle that’s able to wrap up cleaning and drying under an hour. Manufacturers have embraced this suggestion, and we expect many to release a new set of products in the upcoming months.

  • In addition to regulations on energy and water efficiency, dishwasher manufacturers can also apply for a sanitation certification from the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF). This certification is increasingly important in today’s world, and is especially important for parents of young children who are often tasked with cleaning baby bottles. In order to receive a certification to NSF/ANSI Standard 184, the sanitize cycle on residential dishwashers “must achieve a minimum 99.999 percent or 5-log reduction of bacteria” and “reach a final rinse temperature of 150 degrees F.”

  • Bosch recently released a new lineup incorporating cutting-edge drying technologies, namely AutoAir dry and CrystalDry. These highly anticipated dishwashers are an exciting innovation in dishwasher design. We have been closely watching the performance of these new Bosch dishwasher models with our customers in real-life conditions. Based on our surveys, the new Bosch dishwashers are absolutely best in class. Therefore, we updated our rankings in this article to include the latest lineup.

Final Verdict

A dishwasher is a personal appliance, and you’ll want to choose one that suits your unique needs. In this top five dishwashers list, we strive to feature both quality and modern design that will appeal to a broad set of preferences.

We’re aware of the fact that many brands have a hard time keeping up with the increased demand on appliances. If you’re unable to find one of our recommendations in stock, feel free to use the prices and features listed as a benchmark. That way you’ll be able to effectively comparison shop for a different dishwasher model, especially from the same manufacturer.

FAQs

How well do Bosch dishwashers stack up against brands such as Miele, KitchenAid, Whirlpool, Samsung, or LG?

All of these brands are generally considered respectable and reliable. However, each of them makes up to 120 dishwashers. Therefore, it’s hard to make an apples to apples comparison. The good news is that we’ve reviewed each brand in detail. You can find our reviews, buying guides, and more on our dishwashers hub. We update this page regularly to include new products, findings, and feedback from our customers.

Some of the dishwashers on your list have long lead times at my local retailer. Do you have other suggestions?

Asko DBI663IS

If you have hard times snagging one of our top picks at your local retailer, consider an Asko dishwasher. The Asko DBI663IS packs outstanding features and wash performance at a fair price point. In addition, Asko comes with the service guarantee of Sub Zero and Wolf, which is by far the most customer centric appliance manufacturer in the U.S.

How long does a dishwasher last?
As we mentioned above, Miele is the industry leader in terms of dishwasher lifespan, at 20 years. We find that other high-quality brands have a duration of around 10 years. The most affordable dishwashers available tend to last from five to seven years.

Our exclusive video review of Asko dishwashers

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SIDENOTE. This post was last modified on October 4, 2021. However, we regularly update our content as we test more products and new models are released. We also listen to the feedback of our customers and make changes to our product recommendations based on their experiences. So don’t be surprised if you see some old comments below! Since reader comments contribute to the topic, we have decided not to delete them.

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